Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter Two (Part 1 of 2)

Chapter 2
                I stepped carefully under the police tape. They had stretched it across the doorway of a rather small flat, not nearly as pretentious or expensive as I had expected it would be. Sherlock was already in the apartment, turning things over and peering into corners. The flat was smallish, perfect for one or two people. The living area had two little sofas, and a desk with a sitting chair. Books were piled onto bookshelves all around the room. They weren’t stacked like normal books, but rather piled haphazardly here and there, as if they were read frequently. Except for the bookshelves, the rest of the room was quite neat.
                I poked around a bit and then watched Sherlock running his fingers over the kitchen floor. He looked at them, then knelt and peered under the fridge. “Find anything?” I asked? Sometimes Sherlock had all the information within a few minutes and there was no need to even take lunch off.
                Sherlock didn’t answer, but brushed past a couple of interns who had been staring at him. We were a frequent enough appearance at the crime scenes that usually the whole was used to us. The new ones still tended to stare though. He disappeared into the bedroom. I noticed a pile of notes by the computer. I flipped through them, jotted down a few notes and followed Sherlock into the bedroom. Lestrade was standing with his arms folded, watching Sherlock look through the apartment.
                I noticed that the covers on a double sized bed were turned back and rumpled. Books piled the room in a more haphazard fashion here, but the majority of the color was provided by bright blue drapes, and a black and neon quilt.
                “She has a bit of an eclectic taste when it comes to furnishing, I’ll give you that.” Said Lestrade. Sherlock paused for a moment, sniffed the air, then whirled on a medium sized hope chest at the end of the bed and pulled it open.
                “I was wrong,” said Sherlock, and then started carefully poking at something inside the chest.
                “Excuse me, what was that?” said Lestrade with a trace of a smile on his face.
                “Wrong, not a set-up, Chiara Nouveau was kidnapped.”
                “That’s what we figured,” Lestrade shifted to see what had captured Sherlock’s attention in the hope chest. “What gives it away? On the phone you were convinced it was a set-up.”
                “Flowers,” said Sherlock. I moved over to get a view. There were crushed petals from what had been a bouquet of roses. The stems were still bound together by a dark, wine-colored ribbon. The dark petals were now mostly a small pile of flakes. Three of the roses were partially intact, and one was barely crushed at all.
                “Crushed flowers?” inquired Lestrade. “That doesn’t make sense.”
                “Makes perfect sense,” shot back Sherlock. “Miss Nouveau saved these roses, they were special to her, thus placing them in this out of the spot way where they most likely wouldn’t get crushed and she could control the environment. Probably from a funeral or an old boyfriend that she still misses. If they were from a wedding or a celebration she would have them out in a vase but no, something she doesn’t want to be constantly reminded of but also doesn’t want to forget. So, something sad, betting on the ex-boyfriend theory, especially considering that these are what used to be red roses.” Sherlock paused the diatribe and looked up and Lestrade. “Look into ex-boyfriends for Chiara Nouveau, shouldn’t be too hard to find given her celebrity status.” Lestrade rolled his eyes.
                “What else have you got, how does this prove she was actually kidnapped?”
                Sherlock jabbed at the flowers. “Miss Nouveau would never destroy these flowers, they were special to her. If she was done with them she would have thrown them away. No, these were crushed while in the chest and by force, plus they are still here.”
                I felt the need to interject, “Perhaps she got angry and smashed them herself, forgot to clean them up?”
                “If you’re going to destroy something in a rage, you do it properly. See here,” Sherlock carefully lifted out the intact flower, “Four of the flowers are not completely crushed; this was by accident.” Sherlock rose and pointed to the floor. “You can see a few flakes randomly patterned on the floor.”
                There were indeed a small trail of rose petal pieces on the floor. There were a few larger ones among several small ones, as if they had carelessly fallen from some thick fabric, a jumper most likely. I crouched by a few flakes that seemed to be gathered by the door. They formed almost a perfect circle, and seemed to have been ground into the carpet. Sherlock continued his diatribe.
                “If the flowers had been crushed by hand the flakes would be spread in a wider fashion, as they would have been brushed off the hands and floated around the room. These are in a direct path of sorts. They were also not brushed off clothing before the clothing met the floor. Notice the circular pattern that the flakes are in, with the smallest flakes being at the center. These petals were on a part of the body, most likely a knee or a shoulder considering those are the two items most likely to come in contact with the floor and make that particular pattern.”
                “So, why would someone kneel or lie in dried flowers?” asked John. Lestrade looked on expectantly.
                “That is the proper question now.” Sherlock was in his element. “You wouldn’t put yourself in a small space unless you needed to hide for some reason. It’s possible that the lady had some friends over and they played hide-and-seek, but those flowers wouldn’t have been crushed for fun in that scenario. Rather, if the chest was needed as a place to hide, whoever got in there would have taken the time to remove the flowers or found another place to hide.”
                “Perhaps a friend was in there that didn’t know what the flowers meant.” Sherlock shook his head.
                “A friend would have been even more careful about invading another’s space, even if it were a close friend. You mess up my sock drawer John, but you wouldn’t break my valuables.” Lestrade raised his eyebrows, but Sherlock provided no further explanation. I shook my head, Sherlock was referring to when I had gone through Sherlock’s drawers to ensure he hadn’t hidden cigarettes anywhere. Sherlock was clean, but sometimes the temptation became too much when he was bored…
                I turned his attention back to the case. Sherlock was leaving the room, Lestrade right behind. I hurried after them and came up behind Lestrade in the small kitchen. Sherlock got to his knees, looked under the fridge again and pulled out a small piece of something shiny.
                Lestrade leaned in closely, “That looks like…”
                “Glass, a fragment.” Sherlock held it up for John and Lestrade to see. “There are small fragments of glass on the floor and under the fridge. The particles on the floor are tiny, small enough that they will leave a tiny sliver. Someone was careless picking them up, a few larger pieces ended up under the fridge. From the apartment we can tell that the owner was clean, the only thing she left about were her books. Even the last night’s dishes are done and the counters are wiped down. Had she shattered the glass in here the floor would have been mopped over. Instead, someone brushed them up hurriedly, missing bits here and there, perhaps not even using a broom but whatever was at hand.”
                “Yes, but what does that mean?” Lestrade was perplexed by this. “Does it matter that someone didn’t pick up the glass in her kitchen? Could have happened earlier yesterday, friends over for dinner and that sort of thing.”
                Sherlock gave Lestrade a look, and walked briskly towards the front door where Anderson and a few others were working. 

(Chapter Two to be continued December 21st)

No comments:

Post a Comment